FID Marseille: Tireless Search for Originality

The French documentary festival FID Marseille ranks among the key destinations of viewers who are not afraid to experiment, discover and learn new dialects of the film language. It is the unrelenting effort to explore the possibilities of the film medium, articulate complex social themes and give space to young talented filmmakers that has defined the past quarter century of the festival. Recall a selection of films awarded last year before the launch of the festival’s 26th edition! Recall the film atmosphere of the French Riviera from April 20 to May 3 at!

The fact that documentary film is not a single homogenous category, e.g. that of talking heads, rather embracing a wide spectrum of diverse genres and attitudes, is already well known. However, if you really want to see the wide range of means of expression employed in contemporary documentary film, enter the screening halls of the French member of Doc Alliance, the festival FID Marseille. From June 30 to July 6, it will present a unique film selection where originality and testing of film boundaries play the main role for the 26th time. See for yourselves in a selection of 9 films awarded by the festival’s juries in 2014!

The images of OUR TERRIBLE COUNTRY, a documentary that won the international competition of the festival’s 25th edition, are framed by a demanding film narrative as well as by a political context. Made by the directing duo Mohammad Ali Atassi and Ziad Homsi, the film captures an intimate encounter with Syrian author and dissident Yassin Haj Saleh, a man whose uncompromising civil approach had brought him behind the bars for 16 years. On the backdrop of the protracted Syrian war, his personal story gets rolling again. In the course of shooting, he has experienced several arrests, has been forced to move across his beloved country that is turning into ruins, and finally ended up in painful exile in Turkey.

The theme of home and home leaving is also discussed in I COMME IRAN and HAUNTED. In the former, director Sanaz Azari learns her native Persian tongue to establish closer ties with the country where she comes from but which she could never fully embrace. HAUNTED, on the contrary, follows several stories linked by the theme of leaving home. The constant physical presence of the moment of leaving home due to the Syrian state of war is confronted with the mental unreadiness of the protagonists as well as with the question whether and how one can get ready for such a turning point in one’s life. Director Liwaa Yazji, who received an award for the best debut for the film, has also been nominated for the prestigious European Doc Alliance Selection Award 2015. You can read an interview about the film and the nomination in the news section.

Unknown worlds beyond the borders of everydayness are explored by the documentaries TOURISME INTERNATIONAL and I FORGOT! While the former film focuses on the strange schizophrenia between what is said and concealed in the public, which is a characteristic feature of any detail of life in North Korea, the latter film transcends the limits of the usual world through its unique film approach. Although it depicts the banal everyday activities of the Vietnamese protagonist Hoa, the airy character of the wide-screen film and the relaxed rhythm of editing turn I FORGOT! into an energetic celebration of unrestrained young life.

The last four films address the world of artistic imagination and culture. The observational, loose portrait I, OF WHOM I KNOW NOTHING by Mexican director Pablo Sigg captures the archived living space of ageing British publisher of Samuel Beckett’s work John Calder. Between the long-drawn-out moments of his days, turning primarily to the past, intense moments of energy and original mind flicker, complemented by the presence of the author’s muse Billie Whitelaw. The film that is hard to label in terms of genre, LE SOUFFLEUR DE L’AFFAIRE, too, escapes to the imagination field of a literary text, telling an alternate story of the death of neo-romanticist author Edmond Rostand. The film TROIS CONTES DE BORGES, inspired by the work and personality of Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges, sets out to the border between fiction film / documentary film and biography / fiction as well. Dealing with the theme of the last days in one’s life, the final sense of which can be found in art and imagination that help one escape the pain, the Belgian documentary BEFORE WE GO concludes the film selection.

Become a documentary cinefile! Train your demanding viewer’s eye with FID Marseille from April 20 to May 3 at!

Selected films is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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